Islam Is Not Islamism
I take Krauthammer’s side in this debate with Mark Steyn regarding Geert Wilders. In simplified terms, Wilders believes that there is no distinction between Islam and radical Islam. Or, perhaps the difference for Wilders is between Islam and fake, watered down Islam. I’m no scholar of Islam, so I cannot engage the debate at the level of discussing what “true” Islam is. But I have spent a good deal of time studying what it means to have a consistent worldview, and the conclusion I’ve reached is that few if anyone has a truly and thoroughly consistent one. And we are often faced with examples of where strict adherence to a worldview may lead to grisly results. Christianity, or certain variations, for example, view abortion as murder, and thus might justify or even compel violence in preventing it. Obviously, most of us are thankful that adherents to such worldviews decline the urge to practice strict consistency.
Similarly, as I have suggested before (e.g., here and here), a consistently practiced purely secular worldview would lead to absolute relativism—not only on moral issues, but on every other kind of truth, be it abstract or concrete. Now, secularists certainly don’t agree with me about that. And this is a somewhat lofty, metaphysical debate, still carried on hopefully in good faith, and usually in the context of debates in universities or in academic journals or, ahem, in blogs. At any rate, I certainly wouldn’t go around insisting that the rest of the world treat my position on the debate as a foregone conclusion.
I suggest the same goes for Geert Wilders. He’s entitled to his view, but his is not a foregone conclusion, or a widely accepted conclusion, or even much of a respected conclusion. It is still in the R&D stage, so to speak. It may be the topic for stimulating discussion and debate on university campuses and whatnot, but one should tread awfully lightly before using it as a launching-off point for crafting new legal or social policy.